When Georgia Tech grad Barry Givens started down the entrepreneurial road, he told Hypepotamus that he immediately felt bias in everything from contracts to travel when trying to secure funds for his startup.
“There are a lot of issues outside diversity and inclusion,” Givens said. And so when he had a chance to step up as Managing Director for Techstars Atlanta, Givens saw it as an opportunity to “help the next generation of Black founders.”
Now, Techstars Atlanta, in coordination with Cox Enterprises, have shifted their focus to work with founders and entrepreneurs looking to tackle social injustice. Their 2021 Techstars Social Impact class will connect with underrepresented founders who have been affected disproportionately by social injustice and systemic racism.
For Maury Wolfe, assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility and public affairs for Cox Enterprises, Techstars Atlanta has been a “hallmark of innovation to the Atlanta market,” and the shift to social justice is a “real opportunity to further help the Atlanta ecosystem.”
The additional focus on social justice is an opportunity for Cox and Techstars to “link ideas of innovative startup thinking with solutions to solve the biggest social problems.”
Applications for for-profit founders are open through October 18th, and Techstars is looking for companies in the following verticals:
- improving voter access and rights
- criminal justice accountability and reform
- corporate inclusion, diversity and equity
- healthcare quality and access
- education quality and access
- economic empowerment
Selected participants will begin in late January for a full 3-month virtual accelerator.
For Wolfe, Atlanta’s civil rights history — along with its list of socially-conscious companies — makes it natural city to launch a social impact accelerator. “With Barry’s leadership and perspective, [Atlanta] is the perfect place to host an accelerator for social justice,” Wolfe added.